A South Otago rugby player has been banned from playing the sport in New Zealand after punching a referee.

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The 28-year-old Vaea Uelese was playing for Crescent’s senior team on July 27 when he was sent off by referee Brandon Hale.

According to New Zealand media reports, the Crescent player didn’t agree with the call and took out his anger on Hale by throwing a punch.

The incident was captured in a grainy video from the sideline.

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The New Zealand Herald reported that the violent act took place towards the end of a club game against Strath Taieri in Middlemarch.

Shortly after the game, the Crescent player was charged with assault by police.

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But Uelese walked away from the criminal justice system without any assault charge.

The Otago Rugby Football Union confirmed yesterday Uelese would not play rugby in New Zealand again.

However, the Dunedin District Court confirmed that Uelese will be allowed to be involved in administration, officiating or coaching after the end of next season, partly due to a reconciliation process he had with referee Hale.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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